Comelec bars Cardema, petitioners from granting interviews as Duterte Youth case is heard

Published June 11, 2019, 9:52 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has asked Duterte Youth Partylist first nominee Ronald Cardema to refrain from giving interviews regarding his case.

Duterte Youth Chairman Ronald Cardema en banc hearing on his qualification as a representative for the 18th congress at Comelec office on Tuesday. Photo by Jansen Romero
Duterte Youth Chairman Ronald Cardema en banc hearing on his qualification as a representative for the 18th congress at Comelec office on Tuesday. (Photo by Jansen Romero)

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said this during the hearing of the petitions questioning Cardema’s eligibility as the first nominee of the partylist group Tuesday.

“Please refrain from giving interviews because we are now holding hearings so the case is already sub judice,” she said.

The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings in order to avoid prejudging the issue.

Petitioners Raoul Danniel Manuel of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, Paula Sabrine Janer of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and Raainah Punzalan of the Youth Act Now Against Tyranny were also directed to do the same.

Cardema earlier filed a motion to become a substitute nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list after his wife Ducielle Marie Suarez, Duterte Youth’s first nominee, withdrew her acceptance to the nomination of the group along with the four other nominees of the party-list.

Since then, petitions have been filed at the COMELEC, questioning his qualification as a youth sector representative since he is already 34 years old.

During the hearing, the petitioners, through their counsel Emil Maranon, said under the law, a nominee of the youth sector should be at least 25 years old but not more than 30 years of age on Election Day.

Maranon said Cardema only spoke of the group also representing professionals when his eligibility was put into question.

“His public pronouncements, their by-laws, records, and submissions were all speaking as to youth sector,” he said.

But Cardema’s special counsel, George Garcia, stressed that there was no misrepresentation on the part of his client.

“There was no misrepresentation because Duterte Youth is a group that aims to represent the youth and young professionals. It intends to represent those two sectors. And the respondent belongs to the professional sector,” he said.

During the hearing, poll officials also asked why the Duterte Youth has yet to publish the names of their new set of nominees as earlier directed by the en banc.

Garcia said they will publish the revised list of nominees Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a list released by the poll body revealed that 38 out of the 51 winning party-list organizations have already received their Certificates of Proclamation (COPs) which is a requirement by the House of Representatives in allowing winning congressmen to assume their posts.

As of June 10, the groups are Bayan Muna, Patrol, Kabayan, Abono, Amin, Bagong Henerasyon, TUCP, Diwa, A Teacher, AGAP, CWS, Bahay, TGP, RAM, Dumper PTDA, Probinsyano Ako, Manila Teachers, Philreca, APEC, RECOBODA, Ako Padayon Pilipino, Kabataan, Marino, Galing sa Puso, 1 Pacman, Ako Bisaya, An Waray, Ako Bicol, Ang Probinsyano, Tingog, Sagip, LPGMA, OFW, ACT-CIS, Alona, Kalinga, Abang Lingkod, and BHW.